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Game Music Concerts Spread Gamer Culture 75

Posted by Zonk
from the getting-the-notes-out dept.
The Escapist, this week, is all about game music. A featured article by Kyle Orland touches on the phenomenon of game music concerts. That they're popular with gamers is unsurprising, but the piece also discusses the ways in which these events can make non-gamers aware of gaming's unique culture. From the article: "The most e-mails we get, oddly enough, after a show, will be from the mom who brought the neighborhood kids or the grandmother who brought the grandson or the girlfriend who got dragged there by the boyfriend. Those are the letters we get that go 'Wow, I never knew that videogame music was this powerful. I never knew that the graphics were this amazing. Thank you for turning me on to this thing. I get it now.'"
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Game Music Concerts Spread Gamer Culture

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  • Riight. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Short Circuit (52384) *
    I believe the comment about video game music. I was interested in game music as a child, without really being interested in playing games through.

    However, I don't buy the comment "I never knew the graphics were this amazing!" Non-gamers I know don't really care about graphics. Music has a universal appeal. Polygonal rendering does not.
    • by blackicye (760472)
      As a child.. I think the extent of my interest towards game music was figuring
      out a way to rip the buzzer out of my Apple IIGS and later on my 8080 ;)
      • Heh, my attitude towards game music was shaped by getting my dad to stop playing Neil Diamond when we were playing Life or Monopoly.

        Don't know that I will
        But until I can find me
        A girl who'll stay
        And wont play games behind me
        Ill be what I am
        A solitary man
        Solitary man
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ElleyKitten (715519)

      However, I don't buy the comment "I never knew the graphics were this amazing!" Non-gamers I know don't really care about graphics. Music has a universal appeal. Polygonal rendering does not.

      Nongamers probably rememeber playing or watching someone play Pac-Man or Super Mario Bros. or something when they were younger, and that's what they think of when they think of games. Comparing that memory to, a full CGI from a modern Final Fantasy is quite a difference, so I'm not that surprised that they noticed it

      • The people I know who played Pac-Man despise modern games for lack of gameplay. They see graphics as a secondary feature.

        For me, there's few games more entertaining than LiquidWar, CoreWars, and RealTimeBattle. Though I got a kick out of Final Fantasy 8. (Which is, oddly, considered by many to be one of the worst of the post-SNES FF games.) I don't play FPS games much, but I do alright in UT2K4.

        And, of course, there's StepMania...
        • by psylew (733959)
          The people I know who played Pac-Man despise modern games for lack of gameplay. They see graphics as a secondary feature.

          The people who watched people playing Pac-Man might not care about the gameplay aspect, and might well be impressed by the pretty pictures. The grandparent has a point.
        • The people I know who played Pac-Man despise modern games for lack of gameplay. They see graphics as a secondary feature.

          I wasn't talking about people who liked Pac-Man. I was talking about people who saw other people play it, tried it and got eaten by ghosts without realizing what the point was and that has been their lasting impression of games. You know. Nongamers.

          And FF8 as the worst of post-SNES Final Fantasies? That implies that the NES and SNES Final Fantasies were bad, when in reality the w

          • I didn't mean to imply the NES and SNES FF games were bad. I loved the SNES Final Fantasy games. Final Fantasy III absolutely rocked. The next one I played was Mystic Quest. The puzzles in that game were great. I can't remember the others very well; all of the NES and SNES FF games were released before I was even a tween.
          • by 7Prime (871679)

            I think he meant that the 2D and 3D Final Fantasy's are different enough, demographically, visually, and from depth-wise (except for FF6), that they're tough to compare. And in a way, I agree. Oh, and you're full of shit, FFVIII is an amazing game. Some of the best character portrayal in video games, a very well devised scope (starts very small, and ends very large), a lot of subtlety, and far and away one of the best soundtracks. And the best thing about it, it's one of the first video games that dared to

            • I alwasy hear that FFVIII has such good charactorization, but I just don't remember any of it. I guess that's because my favorite charactor was Selphie (cuz she looks like me) and they kinda forgot to develop her after the beginning. I prefer games/stories with better developed ensemble casts than FFVIII had.
          • And FF8 as the worst of post-SNES Final Fantasies? That implies that the NES and SNES Final Fantasies were bad
            No it doesn't. Where does it say ANYTHING about what came before? That's like me saying "Star Wars 1 was the worst of the second trilogy." That tells you NOTHING of what I thought of ANY of the first trilogy.

            English can be a very confusing language. However, his statement was not confusing at all.
        • by 7Prime (871679)

          Actually, in my experience, in hard-core FF circles, FF8 is considered one of the strongest (it's my favorite in the series, btw). It was bound to turn a lot of people off, since it's much more character driven (rather than plot driven) and by the fact that younger boys think that "love stories are gay", also, it's skill/equipment system is a huge departure from the rest of the series.

          I meet many many people who hate the game, but I find that most of them have only played a couple of games in the series,

          • I meet many many people who hate the game, but I find that most of them have only played a couple of games in the series, and almost always, FFVII is their favorite. There are many exceptions, no doubt, but a surprising number of the older FF fans (college and up) I run into put FF8 at the top of their list.

            Well, I can be an exception for you. I'm out of college, have played every Final Fantasy (except XI. and Mystic Quest.), wasn't all that impressed with VII, and I hate VIII. I don't think love storie

            • by KDR_11k (778916)
              You forgot to mention the autolevelling enemies that make it easier to beat the game at level 1 than level 99.
              • You forgot to mention the autolevelling enemies that make it easier to beat the game at level 1 than level 99.
                Actually, I found that a plus, since I hated leveling so much that I managed to wonder into the final dungeon at level 20. If I had to level up like I do in most FFs I wouldn't have gotten past Disc 1. Of course, I'm really not sure if getting through that game is a plus. Being able to debate fanboys wasn't worth that.
                • by mjhacker (922395)
                  FF8's storyline was trumped up and a little hokey. "Oh, imagine that, we all happen to be orphans that lived at the same orphanage, and the sorceress was our caretaker. Gee, that's inconvenient. GFs make us lose our memory, but even at endgame when we have all of them equipped, we seem to be able to remember things just fine."

                  FF8 wasn't a horrible game, but there are much better ones out there. FFVI, VII, Tactics, and XII FTW.
            • I basically agree with you about FFVIII, as a long-time fan of the series and JRPGs in general.

              But know what really, REALLY ticked me off about it? It *could* have been the best of the series. It had so much going for it. Even with a little tweaking (and better tutorials) the junction system could have worked. (perversely, I like the idea that if you, say, junction your HP to Cura, suddenly you're hurting yourself every time you use a spell. Adds interesting strategy.)

              But it was clearly rushed. I

          • by Babillon (928171)
            Honestly, I liked a lot of the things they did with FFVIII. I enjoyed the junction system, as it gave me something to mess around with (and ultimately abuse horribly*). The plot was so-so (though this is somewhat standard for Final Fantasy games), but what really killed it for me was the characters. If they weren't flat, they were extremely architypal. I couldn't for the life of me associate with Squall (which is wierd seeing as you're him for the majority of the game), and I'm getting rather sick and tired
            • by 7Prime (871679)

              FF12 is great. I'm nearing the end of it now (I'm just doing all the hunts before going into the last part of the story). The one thing that works about it is that they pulled back and made it fairly impersonal, which has its pros and cons. For one, EVERY console RPG I've ever played has some hokeyness about it, that I just have to put aside (I was able to do that with FF8, where some people are not... I wasn't able to do that with FF7, though), but FF12 had the least amount of any game I've played. Unfortu

        • by wheany (460585)
          Please elaborate. How does Pac-Man have better gameplay than modern games? Can you give me some examples of good gameplay in Pac-Man and bad gameplay in some modern games.

          Because franky I don't even understand what gameplay means. Over the years I've heard it's something that the modern games always seem to lack and old games have.

          This post is not sarcasm. Someone define gameplay for me.
          • For me, good gameplay means it's something I can apply my brain to in order to succeed, rather than depend on exquisite motor control and twitch ability.
            • by wheany (460585)
              So slow-paced strategy and puzzle games (like Civilization and Mine sweeper) have good gameplay, while action games, like Super Mario Bros or Gradius or, to a bt lesser extent, Pac-Man have bad gameplay.

              That really doesn't fit into "The people I know who played Pac-Man despise modern games for lack of gameplay."
              • No, because they introduce strategies you can devise and employ to improve your scoring. In Super Mario Bros, you can use a turtle to kill multiple enemies. The bosses at the end of each level have a predictable pattern. In Pac-Man, you can lure all the ghosts in close just before grabbing a Power Pill.

                I don't know about Gradius, though; I never played it.

                Many modern games, especially FPS games, allow you to employ strategies as well. Their being fundamentally different (Predicting which power up your o
  • by vG_NeSS_Vg (965577)
    Anyone who wants to spread video game music to others should check out OcRemix. They have good mixes, and have created full albums of certain games, like Metroid and Chrono Trigger, and Doom. http://www.ocremix.org/ [ocremix.org]
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Thansal (999464)
      True, OcR is awsome, however most of their stuff is NOT waht is being talked about in TFA. People who have no interest in midi music files will likely also be uninterested in techno/rock remixes of them.

      You did mention the best one if you want to get people interested in them, and that is probably Relics of the Chozo, the full album based on Metroid music. It is absoloutly beautiful.

      I admit I havn't poked around much at OCR recently (I really should), and there are probably soem new stunners like Relics o
      • "I admit I havn't poked around much at OCR recently (I really should), and there are probably soem new stunners like Relics out there now."

        You should. There's a Latin version of Mega Man III - Needle Man stage, It sounds awesome.
      • by _Hiro_ (151911)
        There is a Symphonic Chrono Trigger remix that is done like a movie soundtrack.

        It's absolutely amazing. A must-download!
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by robcfg (1005359)
      Don't forget cool sites as http://remix.kwed.org/ [kwed.org] and groups like Press Play On Tape http://www.pressplayontape.com/ [pressplayontape.com] and Visa Röster http://livet.se/visa [livet.se]
      • by kn0tw0rk (773805)
        And dont forget Machinae Supremacy, especially their cover of Great Gianna Sisters title tune. Must admit the Visa Roster doing a cappella covers of Internation Karate was different but amusing. I confess I've been getting hold of the recording of the original SID tunes, as I played lots of the games on the ol' C64. Many good tunes & memories :) I wish that I could have gone to some of the retro gaming events in England to see some of these bands performing live, and one of them which had a light sho
  • I do not like classical music, because the atmosphere and the stories just don't fit into my life. But I have great respect for the art and complexity of this music.

    Game music often just combines the worst of both worlds. Endless tragic moments which you can easily compose with an orchestra and the stupidity of mass compatible simple melodies.

    So that's supposed to be popular? This will be over as soon as enough parents discovered that most of the music is just junk, despite of being played by an orchest

    • Very few people have the musical talent to recognize music as junk. That's why junk is so popular.

      There are two reasons I collect video game music. Some of it is for nostalgic purposes, some of it is genuinely good.
      • by euice (953774)

        There are two reasons I collect video game music. Some of it is for nostalgic purposes, some of it is genuinely good.

        Sorry, I didn't mean to say that all game music is junk. I really love some game music too, but almost all my favorites are electronic music and not played by an orchestra!

        Most game music that uses an orchestra is just nothing compared to "real" classical music. So why listen to that when you can have the real deal?

        • by amuro98 (461673)
          Enjoying videogame music is no different than Enjoying movie, TV, or anime soundtracks.

          The music helps you remember and relive those moments from that game/movie/show.

          After all, who DOESN'T think of their favorite scene from Episode IV whenever they hear the main fanfare from the Star Wars theme? In fact, I bet there's a lot of people who can tell you what was happening on screen at the exact moment certain strains of music were playing.

          Just because it doesn't contain the complexities of, say, Bach, or the
        • Most game music that uses an orchestra is just nothing compared to "real" classical music. So why listen to that when you can have the real deal?


          Wrong. Some of it is quite different, some of it is very similar to earlier movements. The way you just to put "real" classical music into one pot shows how you simply have no Idea of the variety of different approaches in classical music.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by 7Prime (871679)

            Agreed. But partially, this is an error in terminology. "Classical" music, technically refers to a period of about 75 years of western art music in the 18th century that basically stems from Hydan to Mozart. Bach is the tail end of the Baroque era, and Beethoven is basically the grandfather of the Romantic movement, which turned its back on the black & white philosophies of the classical era. Unfortunately, we've used the term "classical" to refer to ALL western art music from the Baroque era forward. M

            • It's nice to see someone who really knows what they're talking about here. I'd mod you up if I had the points.

              Calling anything performed by an orchestra 'classical' is a pet peeve of mine. It makes as much sense as calling all video games 'platformers' even though there are several distinct genres of games.
            • by G-Man (79561)
              Agree with the overall comment, but a nit: "Alexander Nevsky" was directed by Sergei Eisenstein, not Fritz Lang. The movie? Dated and hokey, but as propaganda goes, it's good for a laugh - if you made a drinking game for every time a Hun commits an atrocity, or a Russian does something noble, you'd die of alcohol poisoning before the Battle on the Ice. "The Huns burned a baby...drink!" Prokofiev's score, on the other hand, is awesome.
              • by 7Prime (871679)
                Lol, can't believe I made that mixup, but yeah, Nevsky is kinda hokey, although, it does have some good cinematography. The Battle on the Ice is still pretty incredible. But if you want REALLY hokey, try the other Eisenstein movie that Prokofiev did the score for, "Ivan the Terrible", which is absolutely atrocious, and the music isn't even all that interesting. Ivan is made to look threatening by having this gross, but long, little beard, and then freezing in stylized pozes with his eyes popping out at you.
        • Most game music that uses an orchestra is just nothing compared to "real" classical music. So why listen to that when you can have the real deal?

          What the hell are you talking about? Videogame music and classical music are two entirely different things. Just because both use the same instruments doesn't mean that they're the same. You might as well say "why listen to Led Zeppelin when you can have the real deal by listening to Alice Cooper?"

          Besides, all the classical music I've heard has been very boring, un

          • by euice (953774)

            What the hell are you talking about?

            Forgive my lack of explanation. The missing point here is, that I think that most game music played by an orchestra uses really well known composing patterns.

            The games that do something new, or at least good, with an orchestra are really rare (as in, I've never heard it)

            • They're not meant to do anything technically innovative (who even cares), and it's not a competition.
          • Videogame music and classical music are two entirely different things. Just because both use the same instruments doesn't mean that they're the same.

            True, but video game music is meant to accompany video games. Why go listen to it on its own, other than out of nostalgia? A lot of this discussion seems to be about trying to turn people onto game music for the music's sake. But why, when there is so much better music out there?

            Besides, all the classical music I've heard has been very boring, unlike videog

            • True, but video game music is meant to accompany video games. Why go listen to it on its own, other than out of nostalgia? A lot of this discussion seems to be about trying to turn people onto game music for the music's sake. But why, when there is so much better music out there?

              Why the fuck is it so difficult for some of you here to comprehend that others enjoy videogame music, even outside the game? Do you get out of bed every day and think "what the fuck man, how can some people listen to that shit?" And

    • initial offput associations of video game music from people that don't have a clue is that it is always some dude sitting in a room playing around with a synthesizer up untill he comes up with something 'cool,' and then proceeds to build it up from there. It's just a stereotype of a computer geek or programmer posing as a 'real' artist just so that something could be produced, to fulfill a gaping home. after all, you don't even know if the music is being made with a syntisizer at all, it could be just a ser

      • initial offput associations of video game music from people that don't have a clue is that it is always some dude sitting in a room playing around with a synthesizer up untill he comes up with something 'cool,' and then proceeds to build it up from there.

        That's pretty much the process by which all music in history has been written, except sometimes the synthesizer is replaced by a piano, or guitar, or harpsichord.

        Is it fair to say that someone like Nobuo Uematsu [...] is not a 'real' composer, but John Will
    • I couldn't think of a more ignorant troll.
      But maybe this will give you something to think about:

      This will be over as soon as enough parents discovered that most of the music is just junk, despite of being played by an orchestra and as soon as the young discover that this isn't even the original.


      Think of how much this applies to your favourite songs/musical style.
    • I have been to one single concert in my life (I am 16), and I remember it as being pretty bland, mostly because I didn't recognize any of the musical pieces that they played. Last year, however, Play! A Video Game Concert came to Stockholm, but since I live a bit away from there I decided not to visit it.

      However, when I heard the music that they had played, even though it had been recorded with a video camera, I immediately loved it since it both had the massive sound of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orc
    • Game music often just combines the worst of both worlds. Endless tragic moments which you can easily compose with an orchestra and the stupidity of mass compatible simple melodies.

      I don't know wtf you mean by mass compatible, but simple melodies are the foundations of great music. I've taken a music theory class, I've done a little bit of songwriting, and I've been playing music since I was pretty young. I can tell you one of the biggest mistakes beginner songwriter is making overly complex melodies when
    • The "classics" are used in commercials because the music itself is in the public domain. It's dicey to use any music from the last century or so for commercials since you're in the copyright-clearing minefield. If the rights holders are dead or hard to find, the cost of compliance goes straight up.

      Given that, you're better off grabbing a bit of, say, Verdi (I'm thinking of his "Dies Irae" from his Requiem), and handing it to musicians, and using that. You'd own copyright on the *recording* and save all

      • You are 100% right, this is the real problem of orchestral music nowadays. The audience is simply dying away and most people cannot appreciate it anymore. (I'm not really an exception to that)

        And now we can discuss the real subject: Is it a good idea to play game music, just to drag young people to the orchestra?

        There might be some benefits in doing this sometimes, because if there are at least some people who start getting interested in orchestral music, that would be a good thing.

        But in the long run

  • I started http://gamersradio.com/ [gamersradio.com] many years ago with the idea that I could mix gaming music with traditional music and gaming related interviews. Unfortunately, this did not work like I wanted and I scraped the idea in favor of a more traditional Rock station. While it has been a success, I really wanted to provide an outlet for Game Related music. I think the time is right, so I have been working on a third station for Gamers Radio that will be mainly Gaming Music. I have been collecting music for the sta
  • by antdude (79039) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @11:36AM (#17630198) Homepage Journal
    After watching this YouTube video [youtube.com], I have more urge to go to one.
  • They are spreading only a small and rather insignificant of gaming culture really. The music from the actual game being played is not spreading the gaming culture. Instead, they are spreading the music gamers are familiar with from the games they played. How many people are really going to have gained any real insight at all into gaming culture? None.

    Gaming culture is not the game theme song as much as what pumps through the headphones as you frag and warm up for your tournament or next match at a LAN pa
    • by Otter (3800)
      Have some nerd take his girlfriend to a LAN for a couple hours and then ask her about what she learned from her visit... I bet you everything she learned at that game music concert is out the window and never coming back.

      More likely, the girlfriend is out the window and never coming back.

  • I took my brother, cousin, and even grandmother to a Play! A Videogame Symphony concert in Toronto. It was good fun, and the performances were solid (though admission was horribly overpriced). The pieces were of course all orchestral arrangements of the originals, since low-quality midi music just isn't worth paying $100 to listen to.

    And naturally, while most of the audience already loves gaming, the concerts aim to create more exposure for games and their music. Game music has gotten to the level where i
    • by locokamil (850008)
      Final Fantasy XII's soundtrack was awesome. That said, if there is one track that should be played live, it's the "Boss Sen" track (y'know, the one that's played when you fight the judges, or, well, a boss). Dramatic stuff-- with the proper visuals it could be very cool.
  • Music is universal. We may not always agree on which music we listen to, but nevertheless people form better relationships based on musical tastes. Now a few are complaining that this is hardly relevant, but i'll argue that any insight someone can gain on videogames is a good thing. They may never understand videogames, but atleast this brings them closer to understanding some of the appeal. You shouldn't be all proud because you're part of this videogame subculture that "they'll never get." Instead, embrac
  • The better question is where can we get copies of the orchestral music? You can't ask for a better expression of geek love.
  • I wish I could get my family to appreciate video game music, but they won't. They refuse to even listen to it, let alone appreciate it.

    Disclosure: I'm the current webmaster of VGMusic.com [vgmusic.com], and have worked for the site as far back as 1997.
  • I really enjoy listening to old game songs I used to play. There are many sites that offer remixes of these classic "SIDs". These are great!

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by necronom426 (755113)
      I went to a "Back in Time" C64 concert in London a few years ago. It was really good, and seeing someone play "Monty on the Run" on a violin was an experience!
  • girlfriend who got dragged there by the boyfriend

    Is it April Fools already?

    Everyone knows gamer geeks don't have girl/boyfriends ;)
  • I'll atest to that (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 7Prime (871679) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @04:59PM (#17636474) Homepage Journal

    I got into video games through music. I was studying composition at Oberlin Music Conservatory, and I had been delving into a lot of Progressive Rock on the side... listening to a lot of Emerson Lake & Palmer, Yes, and Genesis. A friend of mine, with similar tastes in music told me I had to check out this stuff by this guy Nobuo Uematsu, who was largely influenced by ELP and Yes. He played me some selections from FF8 and FF6, and I was blown away. I immediately downloaded an emulator (didn't have a console at the time), and played through FF6 and FF8 immediately, and from then on, I was hooked. Then, I started transcribing many of various themes and pieces for piano. I finished out my stay at Oberlin with a piano recital of arranged game music, and packed a small auditorium with gamers, musicians, and all interested folks, alike... one of the best shows I've ever had the privilage of performing in.

    Since then, I've been studying film scoring, in hopes to one day go into film or game composition. And I still play my daily dose of video games.

    I got involved with the site "VGMix", and had a lot of my work up there, unfortunately, the site went down about a year ago, and hasn't come back up since. I put a few things on OCRemix, but I don't tend to follow the site very much. I have an album of piano recordings I did in the studio, but the cost of licensing prohibits me from releasing the recordings publicly.

  • Horrible, horrible web design.

    Don't see a problem? Increase your font size, then scroll.

  • Reminds me a lot of a previous story [slashdot.org] on /. How many times can I read about how neat it is that normal people go to video game concerts?
  • Press Play On Tape [pressplayontape.com] is a 6-person rock-ish band that performs live versions of Commodore 64 songs. They're Danish, but have performed several times in the UK and Norway.
    There's a version of Cannon Fodder performed on game controllers here [youtube.com], and a boy-band cover of Comic Bakery here [youtube.com].

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